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  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ Super Bowl XLIII Halftime 2/1/09 1
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Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

What a game, right?! There’s a reason I don’t write about sports regularly, but I will say that was easily the best Super Bowl I have ever seen since last year’s Super Bowl. So much excitement! And pizza! Also it was an amazing night to have HD picture because when the Boss thrust his crotch into the camera I think he impregnated my eyeballs. That was very sexy, and totally one-upped Prince’s dick-guitar. LIke the thriller of a game, and like Springsteen’s pelvic camera crash, Bruce did not disappoint, turning his 12-minute allotment of halftime-time into a full on barnburner. For those of you trying to predict perfectly Bruce’s setlist, you failed; for your scorecards, it was a streamlined quartet of tunes including “Born To Run” (obvs), “Working On A Dream” (new album title track, also obvs), “Glory Days” (see: the hail marys and the awesome), all opening with unpredicted underdog “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” The show was classic Springsteen: triumphant, silly, and, inspiring, easily transforming the Tampa stadium’s 70,000 sports heads into raving superfans, ending with a tune about better and bygone memories while create some instant nostalgia all its own. At the E Street Band’s recent, private Super Bowl rehearsal at Terminal 5 in NYC, Bruce explained yesterday’s mission:

Via NYTimes:

“It was very challenging to try and get that exact 12 minutes. I found that in a funny way it was very freeing. O.K., these are your boundaries, so put everything that you have into just this box,” he said. “If you do it right, you should feel the tension of it wanting to spread beyond that time frame. But it can’t.”

Well played, sir. In case you forgot the game was on last night, here’s the show. Is there anybody alive out there?

“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”/”Born To Run”/”Working On A Dream”

“Glory Days”

Google Trends is always the best way to see What America Wants. After the Super Bowl, they were trying to figure out just how old were the Boss’s balls.

But only #3? C’mon, America. You’re better than that.

Comments (36)
  1. For what it’s worth, I went 3/4:

    “Born to Run” was a gimme, agreed, as was the new title track. I knew he’d throw in an 80s standard, but I went another route.

    BUT, and this is the only reason I’m bragging, I called “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.”

    Think about it:
    - The Boss has turned this gig down for ten years straight, you know he’s not going to shell out four no-brainers and call it a night.
    - This is one of those B-Sides that everyone knows and forgets they know until they hear it live and go, “Man this is a fucking good song.” Bruce loves pulling these out.
    - The horn line is perfect and distinct and this is his most American, classic throwback rock ‘n roll song he’s ever written. It’s also his most instantly likable.
    - You knew he’d employ Conan’s horns, those guys are beasts.
    - I love this song and I love the Cowboys and God hates the Cowboys and I knew Pittsburgh would pass us for most all-time Lombardi Trophies. In acceptance, I knew my consolation would be to cash in on some nice prop bets. I also bet on Santonio Holmes to win the MVP, the anthem to go over 2:01, Kurt Warner to go over 364 yards, and Bud Light to show more commercials than Budweiser.

    • By b-side do you mean a song released as a Top 100 single, the second track on his most critically acclaimed album of all time, and a concert staple of the last 34 years? Because in that case, yes, best b-side ever!

  2. Farmer Ted  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 -2

    I actually got kind of excited when he did that mad awesome slide.
    I was hoping to see him fall of the stage.
    Stopping the gawd awful performance.

    Bruce proved that he is nothing more than a second rate clown act last night.
    And an embarrassment to the human race.

    • please  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 +1

      you’re a joke. do you really need attention this bad?

    • Go away.
      It’s what a Halftime show should be. High energy, memorable songs…though I think we all could have done without that lame ass referee coming on stage at the end.

  3. i thought he did great.

    also, tenth avenue freezeout is by no means some obscure b-side. srsly?

  4. I thought the Boss was in top form. It was far better than staring at the Tom Petty rigor mortis show.

  5. It’s taken be about twenty years to discover that Bruce Springsteen is fantastic. Thanks, Ronald Reagan, for making me think “Born in the U.S.A.” was a pop paen to America. As a result, I dismissed them faster than I could sneeze. It’s taken several friends who’s musical tastes I trust to finally come over to the other side.

    Last night was an amazing concert. Springsteen so clearly loves what he does that it’s impossible to stop watching him.

  6. i’m going to impregnated your mouth

  7. annie onymous  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    i was sitting in a basement with the people that are all springsteens audience – working class 30-to-40 somethings, an everyone walked out on it about 4 or 5 minutes in. how freaking lame was the banter!?

    but really, ill give him credit for giving his all, but it just didnt work for a basement of about 20 people in missourri.

  8. Still pulls off tight black jeans better than the rest of us.

  9. Paul Ramon  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    “Hail Marys” in Glory Days? I love the all-knowing tone, especially when you act like you know the song so well and have no clue the lyrics were changed. Thank you, Rolling Stone College Guide.

  10. Isn’t this the guy who sang the Jerry Maguire song? Wasn’t Cuba Gooding in attendance? What am I missing?

  11. Also, obligatory: Animal Collective > Bruce Springsteen

  12. Yeah. The lyrics to Glory Days were changed from a cat who was a big baseball player back in high school to, well, something more venue-appropriate, and it certainly fit well. I dug it, although that synth riff still makes me hate myself, and I’ve been listening to it for twenty years.

    I totally missed on Tenth Avenue Freezeout. One of my favorite songs, but really? Opening with it? Rad.

  13. gnealben  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    Actually, it was a single. “She’s the One” was the B-side.

  14. gnealben  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    Sorry. My last post makes no sense unless I say I was responding to the earlier comments about “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”

  15. Ok, excuse me for not being a fan/knowing anything about Bruce and his so called “E Street Band,” but wtf? Max Weinberg is the drummer?! Why had no one ever mentioned this before? I’m not really a fan of Max either but i was sure surprised. As for the performance, anything that is not Ashley Simpson (which technically was at the orange bowl but whatever) is good in my book, but they should bring back Paul McCartney and all the other Beatles, dead and alive.

    • Sean jean  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

      Seriously? Where the hell have you been?

      Also, I saw a number of other Max Weinberg 7′ers up on stage with the boss.

  16. tonebone  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 +1

    “i want you to step back from that guacamole dip. i want you to put the chicken fingers and turn your television all the way up.” nobody has more control over america.

  17. Tom Petty > Bruce Springsteen

    For me, the most exciting part of the halftime performance was seeing Max Weinberg.

  18. nicholas  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    the scary thing is, is when he said the part about guacamole, i had just picked up a chip WITH GUACAMOLE ON IT. and my friend was in the process of TURNING UP HER TV. it was like he was right there with us.

  19. Cherry_Ghost  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    What about Clarence Clemons at #28? No one can rock a cowbell while wearing a Sith lord cape and grinning madly like Clarence Clemons.

  20. teabag4lyfe  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    America, you just got tea bagged by the Boss!

  21. rcrdgrl  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    Who was the red head on stage? Is she part of the E Street Band…I don’t recall there being a girl. Looks like Bonnie Raitt????

  22. The redhead is Bruce’s wife, Patti Scialfa. There was another female guitarist that I didn’t recognize but, that’s okay, Bruce seems to be adding new E-Streeters with each tour.
    I know it’s fashionable to dis that which has come before in favor of ‘MY NEW COOL BAND THAT I LOVE AND THINK’S THE BESTEST!”
    But what Bruce brought last night was the energy he brings to every show. The man is 58 and does no concert less than 2.5 hours long.
    In many ways this is just the greatest bar band that ever lived. But, it’s also the band that, for all intents and purposes, invented stadium rock in or around 1975.
    What I found most amazing was: I loathe the new album. I was going to eschew the concert because I know it’s going to be replete with songs from Working on a Dream.
    Then I watched that last night and it reminded me that every Springsteen show is a lesson in how to throw a party for 20,000 people.
    You would do worse than catching this act before he retires.
    He’s 58. His organist just succumbed to cancer. His sax man is ancient. How many top notch years does the guy have left?
    Truly an inspiring show.

  23. Denny  |   Posted on Feb 2nd, 2009 0

    Although missing out on the number one spot, The Boss did manage to beat the Grand Slam on its biggest day ever. Americans may have just sorted out their priorities.

    Either way, there’s finally some good news at the top.

  24. I thought this halftime show was amazing, and probably the best I can remember.

    Has anyone topped this performance?

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